We white Christians still have a lot to learn and a reprehensible past to lament. After 400 years, we’d better pray that black churches are still willing to teach us. And that we’ve got conscience enough to act on what we learn.
Albert Mohler’s hermeneutic of biblical inerrancy led him 25 years ago to reaffirm a scriptural mandate for slaves to dutifully ‘submit’ to their masters in whatever era or culture slavery might exist. His repentance regarding slavery, albeit delayed, is a lesson for all of us.
If the church is truly committed to the “care of souls,” then my physical absence on Sundays is not a test of faith, it’s an affirmation of faith and life. If God really is present everywhere, and if churches continue to offer worship online, then so be it. The Spirit knows where to find me, wherever I am.
I find myself in awe of the clergy and laity offering frontline care of souls in response to COVID-19, lovingly creating ministry alternatives, even from a distance. While these acts of selflessness are themselves a dramatic sign of spiritual renewal, sobering trends confront America’s churches.
As congregational separation and virtual worship persist, I find myself longing for the healing touches consistently dispensed in our home congregation – sacraments of grace I’ve taken all-too-for-granted.
This global pandemic requires us to confront the possibility of death – not fearfully or obsessively, but with intentionality born of the reality of the present moment, longing for Easter as Gethsemane and Golgotha linger.
Online or as gathered community, through PayPal or the offering plate, when it is “sanctuary and when it isn’t, we cling to the gospel and the church, not as a hymn-singing non-profit, but as the Body of Christ.
Whatever else, Lent is the church’s reminder that we are ever improvising, seizing the half-baked idea or the unexpected moment of irony, tragedy or failure as an occasion for grace.
Mitt Romney’s act of conscience compelled the President, the Senate and the rest of us to confront faith and conscience, religious liberty and dissent, at this moment in our nation’s troubled, divided history.